Research Staff

 


Dr Seema Mihrshahi

 

Background

Dr Seema Mihrshahi has recently been appointed as the Research Translation Co-ordinator of the Centre of Research Excellence in the Early Prevention of Obesity in Childhood (EPOCH CRE). She has a background in nutritional epidemiology and is Senior Research Fellow at the Prevention Research Collaboration within the School of Public Health. Seema has experience in conducting nutrition surveillance surveys and complex evaluations of nutrition interventions. Her current research focuses on developing and evaluating interventions for the prevention of overweight and obesity with a focus on childhood and adolescence. Her role in the EPOCH CRE will be to facilitate partnerships, developing cross-disciplinary collaborations and designing and implementing processes for knowledge synthesis, dissemination, exchange and application.

 

Profile:  http://sydney.edu.au/medicine/people/academics/profiles/seema.mihrshahi.php


Kylie Hunter

 

Kylie Hunter is a Senior Project Officer for the Systematic Reviews and Health Technology Assessment team at the NHMRC Clinical Trials Centre, University of Sydney. She has recently been appointed as a Research Assistant for EPOCH stream 1.

 

Profile:  http://www.ctc.usyd.edu.au/automated-nodes/people/kylie-hunter.aspx


 

Penny Love

 

Dr Penny Love has recently been appointed as a postdoctoral fellow within the EPOCH CRE based at Deakin University, focusing on the translation, implementation and sustainability of early childhood prevention interventions at scale.  She has a background in dietetics and nutrition with experience spanning policy, practice, and research having worked as a public health nutrition practitioner in a range of contexts in urban, rural and remote areas.  Penny's current research areas of interest are community-wide obesity prevention through a systems approach, implementation and sustainability at scale, with a specific interest in remote and rural communities.  Her role within within the EPOCH CRE will be to undertake research to inform the identification of key leverage points for obesity prevention interventions when implemented within existing service delivery systems in Australasia.

 

Profile: https://www.deakin.edu.au/apps/research/find-a-researcher/43243/Dr-Penny-Love


David Espinoza

 

David Espinoza as biostatistician employed at the NHMRC Clinical Trials Centre (CTC), University of Sydney since 2011. David has worked on the EPOCH1 IPD-PMA as well as various clinical oncology trials;  collaborations with the BODEN institute looking at obesity and consults with the Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention Research. He oversees the randomisation system offered by the CTC statistics team.

 

Profile: http://www.ctc.usyd.edu.au/automated-nodes/people/david-espinoza.aspx


 

Rebecca Byrne

BMedSc MNutrDiet PhD

 

Dr Rebecca Byrne is the postdoctoral research fellow within Stream 2 of the EPOCH CRE, based at the Queensland University of Technology - Centre for Children's Health Research.  Rebecca is an Accredited Practising Dietitian and her research interests include what and how young children are fed, understanding how eating behaviours - such as fussy eating - develop, and improving the measurement of obesogenic behaviours.  She has worked on the NH&MRC funded NOURISH trial that evaluated a complementary feeding intervention to prevent childhood obesity, and upscaling of the PEACHTM program - Parenting, Eating & Activity for Child Health - across Queensland.  Rebecca is passionate about ensuring parents and educators feel confident in their ability to foster heathy behaviours in children. http://eprints.qut.edu.au/view/person/Byrne,_Rebecca.html

 

Profile: http://staff.qut.edu.au/details?id=byrnera


 

Sarah Taki

 

Sarah has recently been appointed as the Senior Research Officer and Postdoctoral Research Fellow within stream 4 of the EPOCH CRE based at Health Promotion Service, Sydney Local Health District. Her work will focus on conducting research for the implementation of the Healthy Beginnings program in the real-world setting as part of CRE Translational Research. Sarah is an Accredited Practicing Dietitian and recently completed her PhD in the prevention of childhood obesity at the University of Technology Sydney. Her study was embedded in the Growing healthy program, a feasibility mHealth study which supported parents with infant feeding behaviours that promote healthy weight gain


 

Andrew Tan

 

Andrew Tan is the postdoctoral fellow within Stream 3 of the Centre of Research Excellence in the Early Prevention of Obesity in Childhood (CRE EPOCH), based at the School of Public Health, University of Sydney. He has a background in economics and was previously involved in research projects that investigate the impacts of climate on productivity and population health. Andrew's role in the CRE EPOCH will be to develop a health economic model for progression of obesity in early childhood, which will then be used to compare cost effectiveness of interventions targeted in childhood.

 

Profile: http://sydney.edu.au/medicine/people/academics/profiles/a.tan.php


 

 Lucinda Bell

 

Dr Lucinda Bell is a postdoctoral research associate within Stream 2 of the EPOCH CRE, based at the University of South Australia. Lucy is an Accredited Practicing Dietitian with a PhD in early childhood dietary assessment. Lucy's research interests centre on improving lifestyle behaviours in early childhood to prevent overweight and obesity. She has worked on several childhood obesity programs, namely NOURISH, an NHMRC-funded trial that evaluated a complementary feeding intervention to prevent childhood obesity, the evaluation of the state-wide South Australian OPAL - Obesity Prevention and Lifestyle- program, and delivery of the PEACHTM - Parenting, Eating & Activity for Child Health -  program across South Australia. Lucy's role within the EPOCH CRE will be to undertake research to develop tools that measure key obesity-related behaviours in infants, toddlers and preschoolers and that are suitable for large-scale obesity prevention programs


 

Dr Dorota Zarnowiecki 

 

Dr Dorota Zarnowiecki is a postdoctoral research fellow within Stream 2 of the EPOCH CRE based at the University of South Australia. Dorota’s research investigates the individual, social and environmental determinants of dietary intake, to build a strong evidence base from which to improve healthy eating and prevent obesity. Dorota’s PhD explored relationships between socioeconomic status and children’s dietary intake to inform the design of tailored interventions. Since completing her PhD, she has worked on research trials evaluating the effectiveness of programs for improving nutrition, physical activity and health outcomes in pregnancy, infancy and childhood, working with vulnerable target groups including Aboriginal people, socioeconomically disadvantaged groups and individuals with mental illness. She has expertise in developing and evaluating diet and physical activity interventions, and developing valid and reliable instruments for measuring dietary intake. Dorota will be working as part of Stream 2 to develop validated measures of dietary intake for infants, toddlers and pre-school aged children


 

Victoria Brown

 

Vicki has recently been appointed as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow within Stream 3 of the EPOCH CRE and is based at Deakin University in Melbourne.  Her work will focus on the cost-effectiveness of early childhood obesity prevention interventions.  Vicki recently completed her PhD, which investigated the role, impact and cost-effectiveness of ‘upstream’ interventions for obesity prevention.  Vicki also holds a Bachelor of Economics (Hons) and a Masters of Public Health.

 

Profile:  http://www.deakin.edu.au/about-deakin/people/victoria-brown


 

Lene Seidler

 

Anna Lene Seidler is part of the Systematic Reviews and Health Technology Assessment team at the NHMRC Clinical Trials Centre, University of Sydney. She has a background in Psychology (BSC and MSc) and  works as a research assistant for EPOCH stream 1.


 

Jazzmin Miaobing Zheng

Bsc(Hons), PhD

 

Jazzmin is a Research Fellow at the Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition, Deakin University. She holds a National Health and Medical Research Council Early Career Fellowship (2017-2021). She is an Accredited Practising Dietitian and has a background in nutrition epidemiology and public health. Her fellowship focuses on assessing the dietary correlates of rapid growth and adiposity in early childhood, and how rapid weight gain during infancy programs later obesity risks among several Australian longitudinal birth cohorts. Other research interests include the role of dietary intakes such as portion size, energy-dense and nutrient-poor foods in the development of obesity and chronic diseases.

 

 

PhD Students


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Chelsea Mauch

 

Chelsea started her PhD at the University of South Australia in January 2017. She was awarded an NHMRC postgraduate scholarship, and an EPOCH CRE top-up scholarship to work with Stream 2. Chelsea is an Accredited Practising Dietitian, with more than a decade of experience in public and private paediatric dietetics. She worked on the NOURISH project as a Research Associate for 8 years, and played a key role in intervention design and delivery, and dietary data collection and analysis. Her PhD project will focus on the Home Food Environment of toddlers aged 1-3 years 


 

Emma Esdaile

APD, BA, MIS, BHlthSc(Nutr&Diet)(Hons)

 

Emma Esdaile commenced her PhD at Sydney University in October 2016, undertaking a project in Stream 4 within the EPOCH CRE. Her work will focus on the policies and infrastructure that could impact upon childhood obesity (0-5 years). Emma is an Accredited Practising Dietitian and worked most recently in the Queensland-wide scaling up of the PEACH - program (Parenting, Eating and Activity for Child Health) with Queensland University of Technology.

 

Lakshmi Ekambareshwar

MHS (Hons), Grad Dip HSM, BSc


 Lakshmi Ekambareshwar commenced her PhD at Sydney University in March 2017, undertaking a project in Stream 4 within the EPOCH CRE. Her work will focus on the Process Evaluation of Communicating Healthy Beginnings Advice by Telephone (CHAT) Trial. For her Master’s research, Lakshmi evaluated the education and training provided to health professionals for web-based incident reporting in the use of New South Wales State-wide Incident Information Management System.  Lakshmi has extensive experience within the New South Wales Health system and most recently was Cancer Systems Innovation Manager at Northern Sydney Local Health District.


 

Andrea Fuller

APD, BBus, BNutr&Diet (Hons)

 

Andrea commenced her PhD at Queensland University of Technology in March 2017, working in Stream 2 within the EPOCH CRE, and based at Centre for Children’s for Health Research.  Her research will include the development and evaluation of a pilot program aimed at parenting skills that encourage healthy lifestyle behaviours in children aged 18 to 36 months attending playgroup. The intervention will cover diet quality, physical activity, sedentary behaviours and sleep.  Andrea is an Accredited Practicing Dietitian and conducted an undergraduate research project evaluating the PEACHTM program (Parenting, Eating & Activity for Child Health) for families with a child with special needs, particularly Autism Spectrum Disorder and the evaluation of a pilot PEACHTM program at a Special School.


 

 Konsita Kuswara

APD, MPH, MNutrDiet, BMedSci

 

Konsita commenced her PhD in January 2017 at Deakin University under the Deakin University Postgraduate Research Scholarships.  Her research focuses on the promotion of best practice Infant feeding practices among Chinese immigrants in Australia.  Konsita is an experienced Accredited Practising Dietitian with special interest in maternal and child nutrition.


Adam Walsh

 

Adam is a PhD student and lecturer in Dietetics in the School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, Deakin University.  Adam is an accredited practising dietitian having worked at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne prior to joining Deakin.  The primary focus of Adam’s PhD is the influence of fathers on the dietary and physical activity behaviours of children under five years.  Adam’s research has concentrated on developing a better understanding of the dimensions of father’s roles on the eating and physical activity behaviours of young children and the unique impact that paternal involvement has on child and family health outcomes.


 

Brittany Johnson

APD, BNutr&Diet, BHSc(Hons)

 

Brittany commenced her PhD at the University of South Australia in July 2016. Her research interests include improving diet quality by reducing unhealthy food intake and creating supportive environments where we live, work and play. Her PhD project aims to identify intervention content to support parents to reduce provision of unhealthy foods to their young children during the transition to pre-school and school. Brittany is an Accredited Practising Dietitian with a background in public health nutrition and experience in working with Aboriginal communities and the child care sector to make healthy food choices.